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 Page 1


56 / Beehive
B B B B BEFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE Y Y Y Y YOU OU OU OU OU R R R R READ EAD EAD EAD EAD
• Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror? What do you
think about at such times? Have you ever seen a dog, a cat
or a bird look into a mirror? What do you think it sees?
• Now read this humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and
a mirror.
1. “HAS a snake ever coiled itself round any part of
your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent.
The question came from the homeopath. The topic
came up when we were discussing snakes. We
listened attentively as the doctor continued with
his tale.
It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had
my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room.
I heard a noise from above as I opened the door.
The sound was a familiar one. One could say that
the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of
matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
2. The house was not electrified; it was a small rented
room. I had just set up medical practice and my
earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in
my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I
also possessed one solitary black coat which I was
then wearing.
3. I took off my black coat, white shirt and not-so-
white vest and hung them up. I opened the two
windows in the room. It was an outer room with
one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof
with long supporting gables that rested on the beam
over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was a
5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snake and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mirr r r r ror or or or or
meagre: small in
quantity.
gable: upper part of
a wall below a
sloping roof
gable
2020-21
Page 2


56 / Beehive
B B B B BEFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE Y Y Y Y YOU OU OU OU OU R R R R READ EAD EAD EAD EAD
• Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror? What do you
think about at such times? Have you ever seen a dog, a cat
or a bird look into a mirror? What do you think it sees?
• Now read this humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and
a mirror.
1. “HAS a snake ever coiled itself round any part of
your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent.
The question came from the homeopath. The topic
came up when we were discussing snakes. We
listened attentively as the doctor continued with
his tale.
It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had
my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room.
I heard a noise from above as I opened the door.
The sound was a familiar one. One could say that
the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of
matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
2. The house was not electrified; it was a small rented
room. I had just set up medical practice and my
earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in
my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I
also possessed one solitary black coat which I was
then wearing.
3. I took off my black coat, white shirt and not-so-
white vest and hung them up. I opened the two
windows in the room. It was an outer room with
one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof
with long supporting gables that rested on the beam
over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was a
5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snake and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mirr r r r ror or or or or
meagre: small in
quantity.
gable: upper part of
a wall below a
sloping roof
gable
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 57
regular traffic of rats to and from the beam. I made
my bed and pulled it close to the wall. I lay down
but I could not sleep. I got up and went out to the
veranda for a little air, but the wind god seemed to
have taken time off.
4. I went back into the room and sat down on the
chair. I opened the box beneath the table and took
out a book, the Materia Medica. I opened it at the
table on which stood the lamp and a large mirror; a
small comb lay beside the mirror.
One feels tempted to look into a mirror when it is
near one. I took a look. In those days I was a great
admirer of beauty and I believed in making myself
look handsome. I was unmarried and I was a doctor.
I felt I had to make my presence felt. I picked up the
comb and ran it through my hair and adjusted the
parting so that it looked straight and neat.
Again I heard that sound from above.
5. I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made
an important decision — I would shave daily and
grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. I
was after all a bachelor, and a doctor!
I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an
attractive smile. I made another earth-shaking
decision. I would always keep that attractive smile
on my face ... to look more handsome. I was after
all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
Again came that noise from above.
6. I got up, paced up and down the room. Then another
lovely thought struck me. I would marry.
I would get married to a woman doctor who had
plenty of money and a good medical practice. She
had to be fat; for a valid reason. If I made some silly
mistake and needed to run away she should not be
able to run after me and catch me!
With such thoughts in my mind I resumed my seat
in the chair in front of the table. There were no
more sounds from above. Suddenly there came a
dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the
2020-21
Page 3


56 / Beehive
B B B B BEFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE Y Y Y Y YOU OU OU OU OU R R R R READ EAD EAD EAD EAD
• Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror? What do you
think about at such times? Have you ever seen a dog, a cat
or a bird look into a mirror? What do you think it sees?
• Now read this humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and
a mirror.
1. “HAS a snake ever coiled itself round any part of
your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent.
The question came from the homeopath. The topic
came up when we were discussing snakes. We
listened attentively as the doctor continued with
his tale.
It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had
my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room.
I heard a noise from above as I opened the door.
The sound was a familiar one. One could say that
the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of
matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
2. The house was not electrified; it was a small rented
room. I had just set up medical practice and my
earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in
my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I
also possessed one solitary black coat which I was
then wearing.
3. I took off my black coat, white shirt and not-so-
white vest and hung them up. I opened the two
windows in the room. It was an outer room with
one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof
with long supporting gables that rested on the beam
over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was a
5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snake and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mirr r r r ror or or or or
meagre: small in
quantity.
gable: upper part of
a wall below a
sloping roof
gable
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 57
regular traffic of rats to and from the beam. I made
my bed and pulled it close to the wall. I lay down
but I could not sleep. I got up and went out to the
veranda for a little air, but the wind god seemed to
have taken time off.
4. I went back into the room and sat down on the
chair. I opened the box beneath the table and took
out a book, the Materia Medica. I opened it at the
table on which stood the lamp and a large mirror; a
small comb lay beside the mirror.
One feels tempted to look into a mirror when it is
near one. I took a look. In those days I was a great
admirer of beauty and I believed in making myself
look handsome. I was unmarried and I was a doctor.
I felt I had to make my presence felt. I picked up the
comb and ran it through my hair and adjusted the
parting so that it looked straight and neat.
Again I heard that sound from above.
5. I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made
an important decision — I would shave daily and
grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. I
was after all a bachelor, and a doctor!
I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an
attractive smile. I made another earth-shaking
decision. I would always keep that attractive smile
on my face ... to look more handsome. I was after
all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
Again came that noise from above.
6. I got up, paced up and down the room. Then another
lovely thought struck me. I would marry.
I would get married to a woman doctor who had
plenty of money and a good medical practice. She
had to be fat; for a valid reason. If I made some silly
mistake and needed to run away she should not be
able to run after me and catch me!
With such thoughts in my mind I resumed my seat
in the chair in front of the table. There were no
more sounds from above. Suddenly there came a
dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the
2020-21
58 / Beehive
ground ... surely nothing to worry about. Even so I
thought I would turn around and take a look. No
sooner had I turned than a fat snake wriggled over
the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder.
The snake’s landing on me and my turning were
simultaneous.
7. I didn’t jump. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out. There
was no time to do any such thing. The snake
slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my
left arm above the elbow. The hood was spread out
and its head was hardly three or four inches from
my face!
It would not be correct to say merely that I sat
there holding my breath. I was turned to stone. But
my mind was very active. The door opened into
darkness. The room was surrounded by darkness.
In the light of the lamp I sat there like a stone
image in the flesh.
8. I felt then the great presence of the creator of this
world and this universe. God was there. Suppose I
said something and he did not like it ...
I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters
outside my little heart the words, ‘O God’.
There was some pain in my left arm. It was as if a
thick leaden rod — no, a rod made of molten fire —
was slowly but powerfully crushing my arm. The
arm was beginning to be drained of all strength.
What could I do?
9. At my slightest movement the snake would strike
me! Death lurked four inches away. Suppose it
struck, what was the medicine I had to take? There
were no medicines in the room. I was but a poor,
foolish and stupid doctor. I forgot my danger and
smiled feebly at myself.
It seemed as if God appreciated that. The snake
turned its head. It looked into the mirror and saw
its reflection. I do not claim that it was the first
snake that had ever looked into a mirror. But it
was certain that the snake was looking into the
mirror. Was it admiring its own beauty? Was it trying
2020-21
Page 4


56 / Beehive
B B B B BEFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE Y Y Y Y YOU OU OU OU OU R R R R READ EAD EAD EAD EAD
• Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror? What do you
think about at such times? Have you ever seen a dog, a cat
or a bird look into a mirror? What do you think it sees?
• Now read this humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and
a mirror.
1. “HAS a snake ever coiled itself round any part of
your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent.
The question came from the homeopath. The topic
came up when we were discussing snakes. We
listened attentively as the doctor continued with
his tale.
It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had
my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room.
I heard a noise from above as I opened the door.
The sound was a familiar one. One could say that
the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of
matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
2. The house was not electrified; it was a small rented
room. I had just set up medical practice and my
earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in
my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I
also possessed one solitary black coat which I was
then wearing.
3. I took off my black coat, white shirt and not-so-
white vest and hung them up. I opened the two
windows in the room. It was an outer room with
one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof
with long supporting gables that rested on the beam
over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was a
5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snake and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mirr r r r ror or or or or
meagre: small in
quantity.
gable: upper part of
a wall below a
sloping roof
gable
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 57
regular traffic of rats to and from the beam. I made
my bed and pulled it close to the wall. I lay down
but I could not sleep. I got up and went out to the
veranda for a little air, but the wind god seemed to
have taken time off.
4. I went back into the room and sat down on the
chair. I opened the box beneath the table and took
out a book, the Materia Medica. I opened it at the
table on which stood the lamp and a large mirror; a
small comb lay beside the mirror.
One feels tempted to look into a mirror when it is
near one. I took a look. In those days I was a great
admirer of beauty and I believed in making myself
look handsome. I was unmarried and I was a doctor.
I felt I had to make my presence felt. I picked up the
comb and ran it through my hair and adjusted the
parting so that it looked straight and neat.
Again I heard that sound from above.
5. I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made
an important decision — I would shave daily and
grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. I
was after all a bachelor, and a doctor!
I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an
attractive smile. I made another earth-shaking
decision. I would always keep that attractive smile
on my face ... to look more handsome. I was after
all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
Again came that noise from above.
6. I got up, paced up and down the room. Then another
lovely thought struck me. I would marry.
I would get married to a woman doctor who had
plenty of money and a good medical practice. She
had to be fat; for a valid reason. If I made some silly
mistake and needed to run away she should not be
able to run after me and catch me!
With such thoughts in my mind I resumed my seat
in the chair in front of the table. There were no
more sounds from above. Suddenly there came a
dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the
2020-21
58 / Beehive
ground ... surely nothing to worry about. Even so I
thought I would turn around and take a look. No
sooner had I turned than a fat snake wriggled over
the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder.
The snake’s landing on me and my turning were
simultaneous.
7. I didn’t jump. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out. There
was no time to do any such thing. The snake
slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my
left arm above the elbow. The hood was spread out
and its head was hardly three or four inches from
my face!
It would not be correct to say merely that I sat
there holding my breath. I was turned to stone. But
my mind was very active. The door opened into
darkness. The room was surrounded by darkness.
In the light of the lamp I sat there like a stone
image in the flesh.
8. I felt then the great presence of the creator of this
world and this universe. God was there. Suppose I
said something and he did not like it ...
I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters
outside my little heart the words, ‘O God’.
There was some pain in my left arm. It was as if a
thick leaden rod — no, a rod made of molten fire —
was slowly but powerfully crushing my arm. The
arm was beginning to be drained of all strength.
What could I do?
9. At my slightest movement the snake would strike
me! Death lurked four inches away. Suppose it
struck, what was the medicine I had to take? There
were no medicines in the room. I was but a poor,
foolish and stupid doctor. I forgot my danger and
smiled feebly at myself.
It seemed as if God appreciated that. The snake
turned its head. It looked into the mirror and saw
its reflection. I do not claim that it was the first
snake that had ever looked into a mirror. But it
was certain that the snake was looking into the
mirror. Was it admiring its own beauty? Was it trying
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 59
to make an important decision about growing a
moustache or using eye shadow and mascara or
wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?
10. I did not know anything for certain. What sex was
this snake, was it male or female? I will never know;
for the snake unwound itself from my arm and slowly
slithered into my lap. From there it crept onto the
table and moved towards the mirror. Perhaps it
wanted to enjoy its reflection at closer quarters.
I was no mere image cut in granite. I was suddenly
a man of flesh and blood. Still holding my breath I
got up from the chair. I quietly went out through
the door into the veranda. From there I leapt into
the yard and ran for all I was worth.
“Phew !” Each of us heaved a sigh of relief. Somebody
asked, “Doctor, is your wife very fat?”
11. “No,” the doctor said. “God willed otherwise. My life
companion is a thin reedy person with the gift of a
sprinter.”
Someone else asked, “Doctor, when you ran did the
snake follow you?”
Perhaps it wanted to enjoy its
reflection at closer quarters.
2020-21
Page 5


56 / Beehive
B B B B BEFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE EFORE Y Y Y Y YOU OU OU OU OU R R R R READ EAD EAD EAD EAD
• Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror? What do you
think about at such times? Have you ever seen a dog, a cat
or a bird look into a mirror? What do you think it sees?
• Now read this humorous story about a doctor, a snake, and
a mirror.
1. “HAS a snake ever coiled itself round any part of
your body? A full-blooded cobra?” All of us fell silent.
The question came from the homeopath. The topic
came up when we were discussing snakes. We
listened attentively as the doctor continued with
his tale.
It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had
my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room.
I heard a noise from above as I opened the door.
The sound was a familiar one. One could say that
the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of
matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
2. The house was not electrified; it was a small rented
room. I had just set up medical practice and my
earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in
my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I
also possessed one solitary black coat which I was
then wearing.
3. I took off my black coat, white shirt and not-so-
white vest and hung them up. I opened the two
windows in the room. It was an outer room with
one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof
with long supporting gables that rested on the beam
over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was a
5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snak 5. The Snake and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mir e and the Mirr r r r ror or or or or
meagre: small in
quantity.
gable: upper part of
a wall below a
sloping roof
gable
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 57
regular traffic of rats to and from the beam. I made
my bed and pulled it close to the wall. I lay down
but I could not sleep. I got up and went out to the
veranda for a little air, but the wind god seemed to
have taken time off.
4. I went back into the room and sat down on the
chair. I opened the box beneath the table and took
out a book, the Materia Medica. I opened it at the
table on which stood the lamp and a large mirror; a
small comb lay beside the mirror.
One feels tempted to look into a mirror when it is
near one. I took a look. In those days I was a great
admirer of beauty and I believed in making myself
look handsome. I was unmarried and I was a doctor.
I felt I had to make my presence felt. I picked up the
comb and ran it through my hair and adjusted the
parting so that it looked straight and neat.
Again I heard that sound from above.
5. I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made
an important decision — I would shave daily and
grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. I
was after all a bachelor, and a doctor!
I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an
attractive smile. I made another earth-shaking
decision. I would always keep that attractive smile
on my face ... to look more handsome. I was after
all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
Again came that noise from above.
6. I got up, paced up and down the room. Then another
lovely thought struck me. I would marry.
I would get married to a woman doctor who had
plenty of money and a good medical practice. She
had to be fat; for a valid reason. If I made some silly
mistake and needed to run away she should not be
able to run after me and catch me!
With such thoughts in my mind I resumed my seat
in the chair in front of the table. There were no
more sounds from above. Suddenly there came a
dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the
2020-21
58 / Beehive
ground ... surely nothing to worry about. Even so I
thought I would turn around and take a look. No
sooner had I turned than a fat snake wriggled over
the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder.
The snake’s landing on me and my turning were
simultaneous.
7. I didn’t jump. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out. There
was no time to do any such thing. The snake
slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my
left arm above the elbow. The hood was spread out
and its head was hardly three or four inches from
my face!
It would not be correct to say merely that I sat
there holding my breath. I was turned to stone. But
my mind was very active. The door opened into
darkness. The room was surrounded by darkness.
In the light of the lamp I sat there like a stone
image in the flesh.
8. I felt then the great presence of the creator of this
world and this universe. God was there. Suppose I
said something and he did not like it ...
I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters
outside my little heart the words, ‘O God’.
There was some pain in my left arm. It was as if a
thick leaden rod — no, a rod made of molten fire —
was slowly but powerfully crushing my arm. The
arm was beginning to be drained of all strength.
What could I do?
9. At my slightest movement the snake would strike
me! Death lurked four inches away. Suppose it
struck, what was the medicine I had to take? There
were no medicines in the room. I was but a poor,
foolish and stupid doctor. I forgot my danger and
smiled feebly at myself.
It seemed as if God appreciated that. The snake
turned its head. It looked into the mirror and saw
its reflection. I do not claim that it was the first
snake that had ever looked into a mirror. But it
was certain that the snake was looking into the
mirror. Was it admiring its own beauty? Was it trying
2020-21
The Snake and the Mirror / 59
to make an important decision about growing a
moustache or using eye shadow and mascara or
wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?
10. I did not know anything for certain. What sex was
this snake, was it male or female? I will never know;
for the snake unwound itself from my arm and slowly
slithered into my lap. From there it crept onto the
table and moved towards the mirror. Perhaps it
wanted to enjoy its reflection at closer quarters.
I was no mere image cut in granite. I was suddenly
a man of flesh and blood. Still holding my breath I
got up from the chair. I quietly went out through
the door into the veranda. From there I leapt into
the yard and ran for all I was worth.
“Phew !” Each of us heaved a sigh of relief. Somebody
asked, “Doctor, is your wife very fat?”
11. “No,” the doctor said. “God willed otherwise. My life
companion is a thin reedy person with the gift of a
sprinter.”
Someone else asked, “Doctor, when you ran did the
snake follow you?”
Perhaps it wanted to enjoy its
reflection at closer quarters.
2020-21
60 / Beehive
The doctor replied, “I ran and ran till I reached
a friend’s house. Immediately I smeared oil all over
myself and took a bath. I changed into fresh clothes.
The next morning at about eight-thirty I took my
friend and one or two others to my room to move
my things from there. But we found we had little to
carry. Some thief had removed most of my things.
The room had been cleaned out! But not really, the
thief had left behind one thing as a final insult!’
12. “What was that?” I asked.
The doctor said, “My vest, the dirty one. The
fellow had such a sense of cleanliness...! The rascal
could have taken it and used it after washing it
with soap and water.”
“Did you see the snake the next day, doctor?”
The doctor laughed, “I’ve never seen it since. It
was a snake which was taken with its own beauty!”
VAIKOM MUHAMMAD BASHEER
[translated from the Malayalam
by V. Abdulla]
Thinking about the T Thinking about the T Thinking about the T Thinking about the T Thinking about the Te e e e ext xt xt xt xt
I. Discuss in pairs and answer each question below in a short paragraph
(30–40 words).
1. “The sound was a familiar one.” What sound did the doctor hear? What did
he think it was? How many times did he hear it? (Find the places in the
text.) When and why did the sounds stop?
2. What two “important” and “earth-shaking” decisions did the doctor take
while he was looking into the mirror?
3. “I looked into the mirror and smiled,” says the doctor. A little later he says,
“I forgot my danger and smiled feebly at myself.” What is the doctor’s opinion
about himself when: (i) he first smiles, and (ii) he smiles again? In what way
do his thoughts change in between, and why?              
II. This story about a frightening incident is narrated in a humorous way. What
makes it humorous? (Think of the contrasts it presents between dreams and
reality. Some of them are listed below.)
1. (i) The kind of person the doctor is (money, possessions)
(ii) The kind of person he wants to be (appearance, ambition)
taken with: attracted by
2020-21
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,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

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